Volunteer research has allowed us to compile a list of over 600 veterans from the Flamborough area, a list that is still being added to today. Throughout history, local men and women have served – whether at the front lines, as support, or on the home front.
Waterdown is favoured with three memorials within its boundaries – Memorial Hall, built to honour the memory of World War l veterans, Memorial Park, created and given to the Town to honour those serving in World War II. The third memorial, a traditional cenotaph in front of the Legion, was erected in 1985. Waterdown is also home to what is left of a World War I war trophy – the 1916 German Howitzer was originally to be placed in front of Memorial Hall. Though most of the artillery piece has been lost to time, the barrel remains at Sealey Park.
Our November display features artifacts from the two most recognised conflicts of the last century – World War I, and World War II. Thanks goes to members who loaned items to make this display possible. Canadians have served diligently in both times of conflict and peace, and while our display does not feature items from other, less celebrated conflicts, Remembrance Day is for all of those who served, where or when required.
This year, 2021, marks the 100th anniversary of the poppy worn as a symbol of remembrance. Many know of the iconic poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae, but the story of the poppy and how it became a universal symbol of remembrance and sacrifice is more than one poem.
McCrae’s poem, written after the loss of a friend and fellow soldier, inspired Moina Michael who was a volunteer worker for the American YMCA Overseas War Secretaries Organization. She published her own poem, “We Shall Keep the Faith” in 1918, and vowed to always wear a red poppy as a symbol of remembrance for those who fought in and assisted with the war. With her commitment to the poppy, Moina attended conferences wearing and distributing silk poppies, campaigning to have it recognised as a national symbol of remembrance.
At a 1920 conference, the National American Legion adopted the poppy as their official symbol of remembrance. At this conference, the Frenchwoman Madame E. Guérin addressed delegates about “Inter-Allied Poppy Day”. Initially, her Poppy Days benefited the widows and orphans of the war devastated regions of France. Her efforts helped promote the use of the poppy throughout the British Empire.
Canada adopted the poppy as a national symbol of remembrance in 1921, shortly before Waterdown’s Memorial Hall was dedicated on January 14, 1923. It’s pleasant to imagine that those in attendance would have been wearing poppies on their lapels.
Our display in the upper level of the Waterdown Public Library will remain for the month of November. We also have a small display in the Archives to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the poppy. While the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Legion this year is private, the Poppy Project at Memorial Hall allows the public to remember in their own way, decorating one of Waterdown’s memorials with homemade poppies.
Visit our page, We Will Remember Them, for just a small fragment of information about those that did not return, Flamborough Nursing Sisters, and home children.
If you are or have a veteran in the family and wish to share their story, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us today so that we can preserve their story.
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